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Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

photo courtesy wigle whiskey

If you offer good cocktails for $4-5, I don’t think you necessarily need much else. You’ve already won.

Of course, there is more to recommend about the Wigle Tasting Room, the third outpost of Strip District distillery Wigle Whiskey and the latest spot for drinks, among several, inside the Omni William Penn Hotel. There’s plenty I like about this no-nonsense destination.

But from 5-7 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, you can order one of a half-dozen or more excellent cocktails — including seasonal options, as well as house takes on classics such as a Dark and Stormy or Gin and Tonic — for half-price. Mostly $5; a few, $4.

This could be the shortest entry in this blog’s history. I’ve already sold the place.

Nevertheless, we’ll continue: You’ll find the Tasting Room in an unassuming spot along the Omni’s Oliver Avenue side. A small, gleaming bar awaits beyond racks of Wigle products (thanks to some recent legislative changes, the tasting room is also a bottle shop). More rows of bottles tower above the bar, including ample supplies of Wigle’s limited-run Whims and Brewers Series selections.

You could order those neat, if you were so inclined; it is a tasting room, after all. You could also order tasting flights which will provide you a fine overview of the options at hand; three rotating quintets are available. (Not to worry if you’re heading home swiftly; while these are certainly worth the expense, the pours are short enough that you should still have your wits about you at the end.) This is the way to go if you’re looking to take the right bottle home; order a flight and select your favorite.

In addition to the amply aforementioned cocktail menu, one of the marquee features here is a build-your-own-Old-Fashioned feature. You’ll receive a checklist not dissimilar from the one you’d get at build-your-own-Burger joints, offering a variety of ingredients and preparations (they assure me that most combinations have been road-tested; no matter how odd your tastes, you probably can’t screw this up). Your involvement in the process doesn’t stop there, however; you’ll be brought a tray of the separate elements of a cocktail (pictured above) and instructed on how to properly mix your creation.

The adventurous can also opt for an absinthe drip for two. It will be excellent; you will need to order a Lyft.

The Wigle Tasting Room feels more like ... well, a tasting room than a proper bar; while there are some (exclusively local) beers on tap, there’s no food or wine and the atmosphere is closer to a brewery or distillery than a pub. But perhaps that doesn’t need to change; there are plenty of high-end bars Downtown (imagine reading that sentence 15 years ago), and a few good ones under the same roof. This place occupies a fine niche and does its job quite well.

And did I mention they have $5 cocktails?

Good ones.


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